Len on WDWToday discussing the WDW Standard bar menu

The results of our research this weekend. Look for more about bars and drinking in an updated version of our bars and lounges book in October.

http://www.wdwtoday.com/article.php?story=20140914205436868

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Just listened and I have to wonder, is this not going to be a very long book? Basically, yuck, don't order this stuff! smiley

There are still places that aren't hamstrung by the standard menu. And some have better atmosphere than others. But, yes, the standard menu is a disappointment.

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Looking forward to checking the book out!

The funny thing is that at the end of the Crew's Cup meet, I handed my DD4 the bar menu and asked her to pick out the drink that she thought would be best out of the whole menu. Looking at the whole menu (which have lots of pretty and colorful looking drinks that I thought she'd like), she flipped back to the page with the white wines and said that one of those would be the best thing on the menu. Sad but true, she probably was right...

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What is the deal with the standard menu? Is it a new thing being imposed on bars in WDW?

There's been a standard menu for quite a few years now, but they used to have stuff that was actually good, and almost every place had one or two location-specific drinks. (A good example that everyone knows about is the Lapu Lapu, which you can get at the Polynesian, but you can't get at the Contemporary, for example.)

I want to say I heard that about 2-3 years ago, Disney's liquor supplier contract switched, and so a new menu had to be developed that really showcased certain things that are promoted by that contract. This is the result. And, sadly, there's an emphasis on using "trendy" ingredients (açai, agave, skinny vodka, super fruits, and so on), which means if you don't like drinking the latest trend, you'll be very disappointed by the menu.

And even if you do like trendy drinks, you'll be disappointed by the quality.

I refer to the original ebook "Walt Disney World Bar and Lounges" as the greatest ebook ever written (except for the UG ebook of course). I cannot wait for the update! You will love it!

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Oh, ok, I get it. I am familiar with the standard menu, I guess I thought there was a big new change that would get rid of all the unique offerings. I think that many of the restaurants I have tried had something unique.

I listened to the podcast, and it is a bit disappointing to hear such a negative review, but I really appreciate the honesty. In my experience, the Captain's Mai Tai is awesome. It doesn't seem to have that gross mix taste to it. Did you all try it?

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DD25 loved the sig drink at Yak and Yeti, but we were all having such a great day that everything felt wonderful!

I didn't, because I don't like rum and spiced rum in particular. Most tasters had trouble telling it from the Bahama Mama.

Very much "this," confirmed by my cast member friends in food service. It also really doesn't help that the current beverage program director really doesn't know much about mixology and is fairly insane about cost-cutting above all. Some bars can and do opt out, depending on how much the area manager and executive chef want to push back. Unique ingredients are still hard to come by.

Given the cost-cutting mania, I'm kind of flabbergasted that the standard-menu bars have jars of Luxardo cherries and Carpano Antica vermouth at $15 and $30 a pop, respectively. Not that I'm complaining, as I drink the hell out of that Manhattan.

Still at the rumor stage, but the chef at the Wave (Frank Brough), who goes to great pains to get local and season ingredients, wants to dump their standard drink menu in favor of Florida-local products.

The Manhattan and the Smoked Turkey were big hits for us.

It's ridiculous. Bartender is a hard to get job at WDW as far as I know, but giving them that menu is like telling a chef he can only prepare foods that can be made with ingredients you can buy at the Target grocery section. Not that I don't buy a fair amount of food at Target, but I do know to hit up the Asian supermarket and the farmers market too.

I also guess there are more than a few guests on property who only drink on vacation and management is going for accessibility.

For a drinking outing for fun, I'm most likely to go when it's not too busy, sit at the bar, let the bartender know what I tend to like to drink and ask for a recommendation instead of ordering blindly off the menu. Most of the time, they're happy enough actually mix a drink rather than follow a recipe book.

It's actually easier for the chefs to find their own sources, farms, and so forth than it is for the area managers to go to alternate alcohol distributors. Part of that is because of creaky Florida law, part of it is WDW policy.